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Orchestral Works (5CD) Box set

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg
  • Conductor: Arturo Tamayo
  • Composer: Iannis Xenakis
  • Audio CD (30 Oct. 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Timpani
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,725 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Ais (Fur Bariton, Percussion Und Orchester)
2. Tracees
3. Empreintes
4. Noomena
See all 5 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Jonchaies
2. Shaar
3. Lichens
4. Antikhthon
Disc: 3
1. Synaphai (Fur Klavier Und Orchester)
2. Horos
3. Eridanos
4. Kyania
Disc: 4
1. Erikhton (Fur Klavier Und Orchester)
2. Ata
3. Akrata
4. Krinoidi
Disc: 5
1. Metastaseis
2. Pithoprakta
3. ST/48
4. Achorripsis
See all 6 tracks on this disc

Product Description

TIM 1177; TIMPANI - Francia; Classica contemporanea Cameristica

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MR RICHARD WHALLEY on 13 May 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm so grateful to the Luxembourg Philharmonic for doing this. This music is overwhelming and needs to be listened to at a decent volume! So many masterpieces here - if only they could be performed live more often. This is like discovering the orchestra for the first time, so unearthly are some of the sounds. Buy it - it'll change your life!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Most Excellent Xenakis Timpani Box 5 July 2012
By 21st Century Reviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I am gratuitously adding a review here, though, apparently, this Xenakis Timpani Box doesn't need it: it has consistently been right behind the JACK Quartet as Xenakis's biggest commercial breakthrough ever. Who knows what the stats are? At any rate, for anyone coming new to Xenakis, this is a no brainer.Up until Vol.5, this Box neatly collects most of Xenakis's Orchestral Works between 1971-1991 that haven't already made their way onto cd. There are a few duplications, but, in each instance, this set has now become First Choice in all areas (though, I can think of at least one ('Ais') which yields to its competition (ColLegno)).

There are too many riches here to go into detail, and as I recall, there are good reviews here and elsewhere on the web. I fumble for examples when it seems there isn't a slacker in the bunch. There is no use in complaining about missing pieces, though I have; and one day I hope we have all of Xenakis for all to hear.

Listen to the very ending of 'Roai'(1991) for what I find is the coolest, and darkest, ending ever; and awe at the cosmic vistas of 'Emprientes' (1975; both on Vol.1). Marvel at the almost mechanically fast piano playing of Hiroaki Ooi in 'Synaphai': his technique of extreme velocity clears up the lines in a way that is so delicate as to be ridiculous. 'Erikhthon', on the other hand, is a breathtakingly oceanic piano concerto that might be the Crown Jewel of the entire set. 'Tracees' is a fantastic 5 minute distillation of all things Xenakis.

The sound and playing on these recordings is just everything one could want. Surely everyone else was as awed and terrified as I was upon hearing this new digital 'Jonchaies'! The serviceable older recording cannot prepare one for the epic grandeur of the opening, or the terrifying rocket launch/earthquake that is the 'fuselage' of the piece. The same goes for the new recording of 'Ata'. Here, Tamayo brings an added incisiveness over the original, and the clarity of the recording brings out all the detail lost in the other, 'live', recording. 'Akrata' also receives its best performance ever here.

'Horos' is a dark and hulking masterpiece that sounds to me like the blackest music for the preparation of an ancient battleground, or something equally massive. Along with the bass clarinet concerto 'Echange', and 'Roai', I find this to be the darkest Xenakis. It truly sounds like the vast armies of the underworld assembling in array.

There is nothing here after 1991, and none of the 'Late Pieces' (technically starting with 'Horos' and 'Ata') suffer from the apparent defects of other late work such as the fairly lamentable violin concerto 'DOX-ORKH'. The progression Xenakis made from the 'Creation Myths' of 'Jonchaies' and 'Lichens' to the hermetically sealed lava flow of 'Roai' is astounding, as if, in the earlier pieces, the continents are forming, and then in 'Horos' the is the desert, and then in 'Ata' there is continuous movement, which movement then 'infects' the rest of the later pieces, though by then the 'moving' has lost its energy, and thus we have the plodding tempos of the later works. One feature of some of these later works is an orchestral piano that acts to accent chosen bits in a percussive manner and then never return, a wonderful touch not reminding one of Martinu!

Vol.5, devoted to the early works, is a revelation. It is invaluable to have all these pieces performed by one unit. 'Metastaseis' receives a performance unlike any other, and certainly is now the only choice for this work. The 'suite' 'Hiketides' is truly a marvel, containing probably the most surprising moment in all of Xenakis.

I personally have all the individual cds, but, seriously, I could see myself getting this set just for the packaging! If I was coming cold to Xenakis today, I would have entered a candy store! This is only one out of about 4-5 essential Xenakis purchases that one will have to make to even get started on Xenakis, but that doesn't lessen its importance or impact. This could be the greatest single gift a fan could ask for, and it certainly expanded our knowledge of Xenakis just as much as every breakthrough recording since the wonderful Arditti set back in '91. We're not there yet, but we've come a long way.

It is now imperative to get the rest of Xenakis on record. There are the three choral/orchestral masterpieces ('Cendrees', 'Anemoessa', 'Nekuia'), the myriad of odd pieces from 'Pour les Baleines' ('For the Whales'!) to the Takemitsu tribute, to the late pieces 'Koiroanoi' and 'Sea-Change' (both of which should have Premiere recordings that are unreleased, I assume of course!).

There is a staggering amount of complex music here, but there are some real surprises of beauty, such as in the enigmatic piece 'Eridanos' (1972), and of course, the opening of 'Jonchaies', and even in the peaceful signal rhythms of 'Akrata', but, most of all, hear 'Hiketides'! As if this Box needed a review!

Tamayo is to be credited for his insight into these scores, and the myriad contributions from the excellent Luxembourg players is always a delight to the ear. This is a First Class Production!

Buy It Now!
Buy It Now!
Buy It Now!

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Awesome, radical music by one of the greatest composers of the 20th Century 9 July 2012
By Autonomeus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001) was one of the greatest of 20th Century composers. Greek, born in Romania, exiled to France after fighting in the Greek Resistance during World War II, Xenakis forged a fiercely independent voice utilizing algorithms to produce amazing glissandos and other astonishing effects. While he wrote some fine chamber music, his music for large forces is his strongest, giving full rein to his complex vision.

This 5-disc set, collecting discs originally released in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2008, is an integral cycle of orchestral works performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, led by the Spanish conductor Arturo Tamayo. While not well-known, the musicians have trained intensively with the difficult scores, they sound spectucular under Tamayo's leadership.

Included are 23 works, from "Metastaseis" of 1953-54 to "Roai" of 1991. "Synaphai" (1969) and "Erikhthon" (1974) are piano concertos, with Hiraoki Ooi on piano. Several are works of the late Eighties and Nineties after Xenakis moved on from the exhilarating glissandos and "arborescences" characteristic of his greatest compositions. I find them to be less impressive -- they tend to be less complex, and more massive -- but strategically placed within the context of this integral set, they for the most part sound magnificent.

Some of these works have been recorded before, and the OPL performances and recordings do not always surpass the earlier ones, for instance the original "Metastaseis," with Hans Rosbaud leading the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg live at the Donaueschinger Musiktage 1955, which stands as the most powerful version -- it can be found on Xenakis: Orchestral Works & Chamber Music from Col Legno. The recording of "Ais" for baritone, percussion and orchestra is not as strong as the original 1981 live recording. But this set is essential given its breadth, and given the masterful readings given these stunning works.

The highlights of Disc One are "Empreintes" and "Noomena," both from the mid-'70s. Disc Two is the strongest of all, opening with the astounding "Jonchaies" of 1977, and closing with "Antikhthon" of 1971, originally written as music for ballet. In between are two early '80s works, "Shaar" for string orchestra and "Lichens," which though not quite as jaw-dropping, are still powerful and awe-inspiring. Discs Three and Four are similarly programmed, both opening with superb piano concertos, followed by a late work, a great piece from the mid-'60s or early-'70s, and then another late work. Makis Solomos describes the late style as "made up of a succession of monolithic sections -- like a cyclopean wall" in the liner notes to the original Disc Three.

Finally, Disc Five is very different from the others. Here we find a chronological presentation of five revolutionary works from the Fifties, and a piece for theater from 1964. Of these, "Metastaseis" and "Pithoprakta" are the best known, but "Achorripsis" and "Syrmos," with exuberant glissandos and fascinating variety, are even more enjoyable. "ST/48" is part of a "stochastic" series that made use of an early computer for certain sections. "Hiketides," written for a stage drama, concludes with an utterly uncharacteristic, lovely modal passage that I doubt anyone would identify as Xenakis in a Downbeat-style listening test.

*** *** ***

Xenakis fought the fascists in Greece during World War II as part of the communist guerilla movement in his youth, and the ferocity of those events are imparted in all his music. Here is how Xenakis draws on his experience to describe the stochastic method:

"...the reports of dozens of machine guns and the whistle of bullets add their punctuations to this total disorder. The crowd is then rapidly dispersed, and after the sonic and visual hell follows a detonating calm, full of despair, dust and death. The statistical laws of these events, separated from their political or moral context, are the same as those of cicadas or the rain. They are laws of passage from complete order to total disorder in a continuous or explosive manner. They are stochastic laws." (from Formalized Music: Thought and Mathematics in Composition, 1955)

American composer Roger Reynolds has said about the music of Xenakis: "To my ear, his music is radiant and lean, remarkably clear of traditional allegiances to harmonic substance and melodic gesture. His works are compelling examples of previously unknown event-worlds. One can objectify them by virtue of their image-making, formative strength. They stand not on arguments made but materials revealed. They are above pleading." (from "Mind Models," 1975)

*** *** ***

This Timpani box is quite nice, in the Brilliant style with cardboard sleeves and no jewel-boxes. The liner notes are not nearly as extensive as in the originals, but are sufficient to give some perspective. A nice touch is an alphabetical list of the compositions with the dates, ensembles, and places of their premiere performances.

I am quite happy that Xenakis seems to be finding an audience among younger 21st Century listeners!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Outstanding 20 May 2013
By brotagonist - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This 5-disk set contains 23 works from 1953 to 1991, both some that have been available over the years, as well as numerous pieces that will be new to many collectors. I had never heard of the orchestra or conductor, so I was somewhat hesitant to order this set. The first piece commences with a round of hearty laughter and is a slight disappointment (but I am not a great fan of the vocal works, such as Oresteia, Agamemnon, etc). Fortunately, it is the only vocal piece in the entire set (17:30 minutes out of 5 hours) and the remaining selections do not disappoint. To the contrary! If you are desiring to reacquire some of your favourites from old LPs and early CDs, as well as to expand your collection, this is the set to buy.

I also bought Xenakis: Atrees Morsima..., a 2-disk reissue. Together, these 2 sets round out the orchestral works beautifully, with the duplication of only Akrata and Achorripsis (in the classic versions conducted by Konstantin Simonovich). I rejected Iannis Xenakis: Alpha & Omega (4CD), as this set spans the composer's entire oeuvre. I feel that this latter set is more suited as an introductory set to the new fan, as there would be a lot of duplication with other albums.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Amazing music! 29 Dec. 2012
By Moises Hernandez - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
A true genius-composer. The arrangements are non-traditional, and the result is incomparable. I'd recommend these orchestral works to anyone interested in the avant-garde, or simply to those who are fascinated by music theory.
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